Can car tyres be put on the wrong way?

It’s easy to assume all tyres are the same. After all, they’re black, round, made of rubber and they fit on your car. But while many tyres are multi-directional, not all of them are.

Focus on tread patterns

What differentiates various types of tyre is the tread pattern. Manufacturers have developed different types of tread for different specific purposes, whether that’s better cornering or handling in the wet. There are three different tread categories that each need handling differently.
 
Asymmetric tyres for multi-functionality Asymmetric tyres mix two different tread patterns to give the driver greater control. The outer large blocks of tread provide a greater contact area with the road and are ideal for superior traction when cornering.
 
The inside tread blocks are smaller and designed to improve wet weather handling. They achieve this by using an increased number of grooves that disperse water and prevent aquaplaning.
 
These tyres are designed for superior wet and dry handling and must be fitted in a specific way. Look for the word ‘outside’ stamped on the tyre itself, or check that the large tread blocks are mounted on the outside of the tyre.

 

Directional tyres for performance

While multi-directional tyres are designed to spin in either direction, it can limit their performance. With a directional tyre, you benefit from excellent directional stability and wet weather performance.
 
Characterised by an arrowhead tread pattern, these tyres not only look good but they perform brilliantly, especially in challenging conditions like snow.
 
Asymmetrical tyres can be fitted to either side of a vehicle, but directional tyres can only be mounted in one direction. This will be indicated by an arrow on the tyre sidewall which shows the correct orientation for mounting on the axle. This will match the direction of the tread pattern.
 
If you have directional tyres and they’re mounted the wrong way round, it’s not dangerous. You just won’t experience the performance benefit, so have your Protyre garage put them right as soon as possible.
 

Multi-directional tyres for convenience

Unlike asymmetrical tyres, multi-directional tyres are symmetrical. That means the tread is the same on the inside and the outside of the tyre.
 
These types of tyre can be fitted anywhere on your car. That makes them more convenient and less expensive than asymmetric or directional tyres, but they can’t match the superior wet and dry performance.
 

Can I mix tyre tread patterns?

Not on the same axle. If you mix tyre tread patterns, you won’t get the performance benefit that you would from having two directional or asymmetric tyres mounted as a pair.
 
You may not wish to replace your tyres with the same marque, but if your car has asymmetric or directional tyres as standard, then replicate the tyre tread pattern when buying new tyres.
 

Don’t forget your MOT

If you’re booked in for an MOT, it’s worth having your car and your car tyres checked out first. Why? Because incorrectly fitted asymmetric or directional tyres are an MOT fail.

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Not sure when your MOT is due? Use our MOT Checker to find out.

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Where's my nearest Protyre garage?

Whether you need a tyre check or a new set of tyres, get them fitted at Protyre. We’re the local garage you can trust, with over 100 garages nationwide, who’ll make sure your tyres are mounted correctly for safe performance and great handling.

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About the author

Tom Boote

Tom has over 5 years’ digital marketing experience within the automotive industry in both B2B and B2C ...

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